Sunday, May 31, 2009

Roseland Heights schedule of meetings

All meetings of the Roseland Heights Community Association (RCHA) are held at:

The Temple of Glory Internation
311 E. 95th Street
Chicago, IL

Meetings are usually held on the 4th Thursday of every month. Here are the remaining dates for 2009.

June 23, 2009

Summer break during the months of July & August

September 22, 2009

October 27, 2009

November 24, 2009

Winter Break for December 2009

If you want more information about that organization here's a mailing address

P O Box 198202
Chicago, IL 60619-8202

You can also go to their official page over at @

BTW, if you want to use this blog to get information out about your neighborhood or block club meetings then send a quick e-mail to this blog. It would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Burris headlines

UPDATED 1:36 PM You can still quit, Roland -

CARTOON Rappin' Roland by Dan Wasserman - Illinois Review

More bluster from Burris -

The disgrace of Sen. Burris - Northwest Herald

As Burris Tries to Settle In, He Faces New Controversy
- Washington Post

Tie to Disgraced Ex-Governor Threatens Burris’ Future - CQ Politics

VIDEO GML: Analyzing Burris/Rob Blagojevich Wiretaps - CLTV

VIDEO GML: Burris and the "tale of the tape" - CLTV

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Woman found crushed to death by garage door

Yneekah Garcia, 33, was found with her head in her garage and her body in the alley behind her home in the 8800 block of South Indiana Ave., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Officers were called to the scene in the West Chesterfield neighborhood about 6:30 a.m. and found the woman with the garage door on her neck, authorities said.

The circumstances of Garcia's death were uncertain this morning and police were conducting a death investigation, said Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak.
Two things be careful with your garage doors and be careful in your alleys. This almost seems like a freak accident although we don't know all the circumstances as of yet.

Burris headlines

VIDEO: The Dome with Bernard Schoenburg Episode #5 - The Dome via YouTube

VIDEO: Garrard McClendon discusses wiretaps with Sen. Burris - CLTV

News Of Sotomayor, Burris Make For Active Week In Politics - NPR

Burris deserves a break but ought to go - Greg Hinz

Burris pledges support for local VA - The Commercial-News

How Damning Is The Burris Transcript? - TPMMuckraker

Burris and Liberty University: when is wrong not wrong? - Gather

Analysis: Contradictions, omissions remain after Burris explanation tour - AP

Burris spells trouble ahead for Democrats - David Broder

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Buying Power

Electronic Village:
Despite an economy represented by high unemployment rates, a home foreclosure crisis and low consumer confidence, African American buying power is projected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a report conducted by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. That will be a significant increase over the roughly $800 billion Blacks are believed to have spent in 2006.
$1.2 trillion seems like a number to celebrate. However, if we focus on "spending power" then we will be bamboozled and flim-flammed. Spending power ain't realy POWER because it does not translate into the power to have a sustained impact on our own destiny. Black folks spend too much time puffing out our chest about this so-called "spending power" ... when actually all that the $1.2 trillion dollars equals is our "disposable income" ... and Black folks surely know how to dispose of our income. We give away our money faster than any other ethnic group in the country. Only 5% of our disposable income stays in our community. We only spend 5% of our income with Black-owned businesses.

If you have a dollar and the otherman has a dollar. You give 95 cents of your dollar to the otherman. Are you surprised when the otherman's roads are better; the otherman's public schools are better; the otherman's homes and cars are better? When you only keep a nickel out of your dollar in your own community ... can we be surprised when the police don't respect us; when our children don't respect us; when our school systems are bankrupt; when our public services from the local government are substandard. Spending power doesn't equal POWER.
Read the whole thing!

Protest held outside nursing home

A group called Senior Action Network is calling for more staff and improvements at the Alden Wentworth Nursing Home.

The home, located in the 200-block of West 69th Street, is part of a chain of nursing homes in the city and suburbs.

The Chicago Reporter Magazine said it's found a disparity in quality of care depending on the race of the majority of people in homes owned by this particular company.

"Each of the three predominately black homes received the lowest possible rating from nursing home compare, which is a tool of the federal government they received one star out of a possible 5 star rating," said Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, The Chicago Reporter.

City unemployment jumps to 10.6%; area rate at 25-yr peak

The jobless rate in the metropolitan Chicago rose to 9.9% in April, a level that hasn’t been seen since January 1984.

The seasonally unadjusted April rate, released Friday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, was 4.5 percentage points higher than last April, when the unemployment rate came in at 5.4%. It was 0.6 percentage points higher than March, a sign that layoffs were continuing to pummel the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet statistical area.

IDES estimated that there were 171,300 fewer people employed in the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area in April, compared with the year-earlier month.

The unemployment rate for just the city of Chicago was 10.6%, up from 6% last April, according to IDES figures.

Clout goes to college

The Tribune looks at a shadow admissions process at a time when admissions to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana is more competitive than ever! Students who wouldn't have been admitted are admitted to the university with the help of trustees or state legislators despite having disqualifiers of admission.

Jazz jam session puts spotlight on young Englewood musicians

On a recent weekday night, nine-year-old Rashad Johnson found himself in some very grown-up company – playing his trumpet in a jazz ensemble at a fine-dining restaurant in Englewood.

“I want to impress people. I want a make name for myself,” says Johnson, who together with friends Joshua Yeo and Thomas Campbell was playing for the first time with the jazz ensemble at Sikia.

The restaurant, specializing in African fare, is staffed by Washburne Culinary Institute students. Once a month, the eatery is home to the Young Natives Student Jam Session, open to all Chicago jazz students from fourth grade up until college.

The students find out what it’s like to play in front of an audience, along with well-known Chicago jazz musicians. During the recent jam session, musician Corey Wilkes guided the young musicians through the session.

“The more you play, the more you experience, the more you will get better,” says Wilkes. “It’s like anything in life. You have to be around people that are better than you that will make you grow.”
A place worth going to over in Englewood.

Burris headlines

UPDATE 10:04 AM Newspapers: Resign - Capitol Fax

Our Opinion: Resignation by Burris would be a relief - State Journal Register

Blogojevich-Burris Pay-to-Play: Chapter 2 - Atlanta Journal Constitution

The latest Burris tale - Tribune

The First Burris Lie - Lynn Sweet

Durbin rejects Burris' explanation - Sun-Times

Fundraising discussion was a ruse, Burris says - Tribune

Burris on Blago: 'No intention' of paying - The Swamp

Burris defends self, take shots at Durbin, media - Sun-Times

Illinois corruption update: Burris blames others for his problems - Marathon Pundit

Burris Blames State Impeachment Panel For Not Asking About Wiretapped Call

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Annual 6th Ward bike ride

The lowdown from the 6th Ward Junior Democrats. Unfortunately they forgot the date that is available in this month's Aldermanic newsletter. That date in June 6th. I'd join them but for one minor reason, I never learned to ride a bike.

Three injured in shooting on South Side

Old news from yesterday but worth covering:
Three people were injured in a shooting in the South Side Park Manor neighborhood late Wednesday morning.

Chicago Police responded to reports of a shooting on the 6900 block of South King Drive about 11:32 a.m. Wednesday, according to News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak, who said three males were injured.
This picture is from WLS-TV with a write-up that adds nothing
Here's more from the Tribune:
Two men were taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition after what appears to be a drive-by shooting in the 6900 block of South Martin Luther King Drive, authorities said.

A third man who was shot in the hand and arm is being assessed at Provident Hospital, said Quention Curtis, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman.
One of the victims in critical condition was shot in the legs, the other in the back and arms.

All the victims were between 19 and 20, Curtis said.
I hope that they'll recover.

Your request is being processed... Senator Meeks To Chicago Aldermen: 'Don't Come See Me, I Ain't Got No Money'

I just wonder what this is about:
Illinois Sen. James Meeks told visiting Chicago aldermen not to come see him while they were in Springfield Wednesday, saying to the Windy City lawmakers there was nothing he could do for them or their wards.

"While I have this opportunity to speak to all of them at one time," Meeks said from the Senate floor, "don't come see me. I ain't got no money, I ain't got no influence. There's nothing I can do to help your Ward. Even my own aldermen, don't come see me."

Two Chicago aldermen, Freddrenna Lyle (6th) and Carrie Austin (34th), organized the trip to Springfield for five other aldermen and almost 40 constituents ostensibly to show supporters around the state capital but in reality to make their presence felt at a time when tough budget decisions are being made.
Soo this was reported at the Huffington Post as a sympton of Meeks frustration with the whole budget process. I wonder if this has been building for years after Ousted governor was re-elected in 2006. I understand that there's a lot of pressure on this budget as time is winding down on the current session of the General Assembly, but surely less than when Blago was Governor.

BTW, Our alderman had some comments to offer on Meek's comments:
Ald. Lyle told the Huffington Post that she and her party took the comment for what it was: a joke.

"We were laughing in the gallery," Lyle said. "He was what we call 'cracking' on the Republicans -- getting a dig in against them for holding up the budget. It wasn't, 'Don't come see me.'"

According to Dixon, none of the aldermen had come by Meeks' office Wednesday but Lyle said Meeks did speak with the group during lunch.
According to Meeks' spokesman Jessica Dixon no swipe was intended at the visiting Chicago aldermen.

Burris headlines

UPDATE 12 Noon VIDEO: Delmarie Cobb Talks Burris - FOX 32

Recover Of Burris' Image Will Be Tough - FOX 32

VIDEO: Burris maintains he's don't nothing wrong - WBBM-TV

Statehouse Republicans call on Burris to resign - AP

Burris’ meltdown continues unabated - Capitol Fax

Burris: 'No Pay-to-Play' - Washington Post

Burris Says Audiotape Confirms Innocence - NY Times

Burris' book The Burris beat . . . - Michael Sneed

Flustered Burris Maintains Innocence On "Hardball" - Huffington Post

Wal-Mart Not Giving Up on South Side

Oh yes CPR brings em back one more time!
Chicago got its first Wal-Mart store, on the city’s West Side, just three years ago. Unions and grassroots activists fought the controversial big box coming within city limits. That fight culminated in the mayor vetoing a “living wage” ordinance passed by aldermen. Now many South Side aldermen are openly lobbying for a Wal-Mart and are treating it less like a political liability. And, in turn, activists say they are ready for another fight.
Willie Cochran has made up his mind.

COCHRAN: Superstore for Wal-Mart? What would that bring? Price points, products, groceries.

The South Side alderman wants a Wal-Mart in his own Washington Park backyard.

COCRAN: And you know what? If it comes to the 20th Ward, it’s not putting any Jewel employee out of business because we don’t have them. It’s not putting any Dominick’s store of business, because we don’t have them. And the number of small stores that it would affect – if you look at the number of stores that are in Washington Park, you’ll see that there’s a very, very small number.

Cochran has recently met with Wal-Mart representatives. The quandary with the world’s largest retailer is that it’s criticized for paltry wages and benefits. But in this economic recession, some living in economically distressed communities are saying: a job is a job.

Denise Dixon disagrees.

DIXON: We want good jobs. We want living wage jobs. Wal-Mart jobs are a race to the bottom.

Dixon is executive director of Action Now, a community organization that works on the South and West Sides. 

In Roseland, another economic struggling community, Alderman Anthony Beale says Wal-Mart has flaws but they’re workable.

BEALE: We have a responsibility to sit down with them and try to work with them to say hey we have rules and regulations in the cities. However, we know you have your way of operating. There has to be common ground there. No one has been willing to give and take in order to accomplish the goal.
Listen to the audio or read the whole thing! I've excerpted enough.

Mentioned is the most favored location of a second city Wal-Mart at Chatham Market on 83rd Street. It does look like there could be some competition either from the 9th or the 20th. Not too long ago it was mentioned that one could be build in Englewood but that was before the incumbent Alderman in the 16th Ward lost her bid for re-election in 2007.

Next question how long until Wal-Mart finally builds another store within the city? Will those forces who want to impose a living wage on such businesses be successful? Might living wages be the only thing that keeps a Wal-Mart from being built on 83rd Street, for example.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Thinning Neighborhoods

Progress Illinois:
In many of the urban neighborhoods hit earliest by subprime mortgage defaults, foreclosure filings are now levelling off. While this is an encouraging sign, it doesn't mean the problems created by the housing bust are receding. In many cases, they are just beginning.
Read the whole thing!

Aldermanic sticker sales

It's that time of year again and your first opportunity to buy a sticker at Ald. Lyle's office at 405 E. 75th Street (or approximately the northeast corner of King Dr. & 75th St.) will be on Tuesday June 16, 2009 from 10 AM to 5:30 PM and on Saturday, July 11, 2009 from 9 AM to 12:30 PM. You can find this information courtesy of the City Clerk website.

Uptown Update gives a headsup on dates and times of sticker sales at their local aldermanic offices.

Chicago home prices show record yearly drop in March

Chicago home prices posted a record drop in March compared with the same month in 2008, according to Standard & Poor’s.

But local prices fell less from February to March they did from January to February, a closely watched housing index showed Tuesday.
Chicago-area prices fell 18.6 % in March compared with March 2008, a record year-to-year decrease, according to S&P.

But local prices fell just 3.1 % in March compared with February after falling 3.4% in February compared with January.
The Illinois Assn. of Realtors is scheduled Tuesday to release April home sales and median price data for the Chicago area.

Number of local black students headed to college rises

Five years ago, the percentage of black Chicago Public School students going on to college lagged 18 percentage points behind the nationwide average for African-Americans.

The Class of 2008 has nearly closed that gap, with nearly 54 percent of African-American high school graduates headed to college — just slightly more than a percentage point shy of black grads nationwide.

For the fourth straight year, the college enrollment rate among graduates of Chicago’s 116 public high schools is on the rise, to 52.5 percent. That’s a far cry from the 68.6 percent college enrollment rate nationwide. But the 2.5 percent annual gain at CPS far outpaces the nation.

Hispanic students also made steady progress — from 34 percent in 2004 to 43 percent in 2008. But they they still lag nearly 20 percentage points behind the national average.

Mayor Daley credited a high school transformation financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that has hammered home the basics and bolstered educational options across the city.

A new feature

Well I decided to add a feed to the sidebar for Chatham crime stats and media stories via EveryBlock although you go to this page you can see anything that comes of up for Chatham in addition to crime states and media stories. You can also see street closures, city press releases, real estate listings, even photographs.

I added this feed to the blog in addition to one for the ward as a whole and one with a feed for pics from the ward as a whole.

I added this feed to enable others to track crime in Chatham perhaps with the idea to see if Chatham was truly "worst than Detroit".

County Workers Caught Asleep On The Job

A report on the employees of the Cook County Highway Department via Backyard Conservative.

Burris headlines

UPDATE 4:19 PM Burris has yet to get his story straight… - Capitol Fax

UPDATE 11:26 PM Judge says he will give ethics panel Burris tape - Tribune

Roland Burris’ tenuous relationship with reality - Capitol Fax

Students enjoy a Washington adventure - Herald & Review

Roland Burris: 'I am right on course' - Lynn Sweet

Roland Burris In St. Louis Talking About The Stimulus Package - FOX2Now

U.S. Senators Durbin and Burris Okay with Terrorists Being Housed in Illinois - WJBD Radio

Remember That Whole Thing About Burris Being a Piss Poor Comptroller? - Archpundit

Monday, May 25, 2009

Man dies after suffering medical emergency, slamming into SUV

FROM Sun Times NewsGroup WIRE REPORTS, a tragedy early Sunday morning
A 49-year-old man died early Sunday after suffering a medical emergency and rear-ending a parked SUV on the South Side, authorities said.

Kenard Jarrett, of the 7700 block of South Wabash Avenue, was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital at 5:31 a.m., the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said. An autopsy Monday found Jarrett died of pulmonary thromboembolism — or a blockage of an artery in the lungs caused by a blood clot — and deep vein thrombosis. His death was ruled natural.

Jarrett was heading west in the 500 block of East 79th Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when he slammed into a parked 1999 Chevy Suburban, according to police. The man was driving a Chrysler 3000.

No other individuals were injured in the crash.

Chicagoan first to die of swine flu in Illinois

A Chicago resident became the first person in Illinois to die of swine flu, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Monday.

Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health would only confirm that the person was from Chicago and died over the weekend. Arnold refused to say what day the person died, the gender, or age of the victim, citing confidentiality and the wishes of the family.

The victim had underlying medical conditions but Arnold said that she did not know what those conditions were.

Arnold said officials have been been in contact with close family members of the person who died and that the Chicago Department of Public Health would be following up.

Happy Memorial Day

To all of our military veterans and those who are currently serving our nation. Thanks to you for your service to the USA.

On another note, what is everyone doing to mark this holiday?

Memorial Day background via Instapundit!

Lem's Bar-B-Que

I posted this last month, but it was during the time that the swine fly dominated the press so I decided to take it down temporarily. Well things may have calmed down a bit although there are still stories out there about that illness. It should be noted that no one can get the flu thru properly prepared and cooked pork.

A video I found on YouTube with James Lemons the owner of Lem's. That place has been around since 1967 and has hosted Redd Foxx, Mike Tyson, and BB King!

There was even a music video filmed at this place "Confusion" Just Ro featuring Common.

Also see

A link to get at the photos

I just thought I would bring this to your attention. You can find a link to those posts that are labeled photos and a link to a feed for those posts labeled photos. I haven't decided if I'll just start a Feedburner account for these labels however I want you to see the pictures that have taken around the ward that have also been posted onto the blog.

Label URL:

Label feed:

BTW, if you have any pics to share of your community please share with a quick e-mail. I refer you to our recently published e-mail policy.


PS: It's unlikely that I'll do an e-mail subscription for the photos feed so that means you'll need a feed reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines to be able to follow any future photo blog posts. Thanks in advance!

How stuff works provided the top picture of various cameras.

E-Mail policy

Well thankfully the blog's e-mail address hasn't yet been bombarded with e-mails. Still we would like to hear from you. I want to hear input, ideas, news, tidbits or anything that could be of interest to this blog. The rules for e-mailing us is as simple as the moderating rules, but here are some other things that I hope will encourage more e-mails.
  1. If you send an e-mail please note that they are subject to publication. Of course you have the ultimate say as to whether your e-mail is made public or not. Let us know if your e-mail should be published.
  2. If you don't wish to be identified by name please let us know. You may come up with a pseudonym (a fake name) if you wish.
  3. If have any pictures, videos, or any other attachments to send that's perfectly fine and let us know if you wish to be credited. We want to show scenes around the ward courtesy of those who wish to share with this blog. Especially from neighbors.
  4. If you wish to share articles of interest that is allowed as well especially if it is relevant to the ward or to the issues facing the City of Chicago or the state.
  5. If you would still like to write for this blog please send an e-mail indicating your interest. This is purely volunteer and the main thing we look for are those who want to write about issues going on where they live.
This policy like the commenting/moderating policy is subject to change and if it is this is the place to check.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Burris headlines

Many of you probably heard by now that our neighbor US Sen. Roland Burris was forced to make an emergency landing due to a problem on his aircraft. I'm very glad that he is safe.

Burris settles into Senate but turmoil's not over -

Is Senator Ronald Burris a lying politician? Twitter witnesses say 'yes' -

Chicago's Primary Public TV Station: WTTW, LIberals Talking to Liberals
- Public Affairs

Sen. Harry Reid may need all the help he can get - Top of the Ticket

Local literary listing

Joan Bodefeld signs A Pause in My Life: The Story of Andy, 1 p.m. at Capt's Hard Time Dining, 436 E. 79th St.
This will take place on May 31st.

Internet brings high school graduations closer to home

Faced with a problem this spring of too many graduating seniors and too little room for their families, five south and west suburban high schools stumbled on an obvious solution: broadcast the ceremonies live on their Web sites.

Just like that, officials said, an entirely new world came into focus. One where Friday night football games, school concerts or plays could be beamed into the homes of alumni living out of town or around the world; where students home sick could watch classes live; where high-achieving middle-schoolers could sit in virtual high school classrooms; or where parents could perhaps one day monitor their child's behavior in class.

About 1,200 households watched online this week as graduating seniors from Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Andrew High School in Tinley Park and Sandburg High School in Orland Park donned caps and gowns and accepted their diplomas, a Consolidated High School District 230 official said. More are expected to tune in for a live video stream of graduation ceremonies Sunday for two Indian Prairie School District 204 high schools in Aurora and Naperville..

The suburban schools are among a growing number around the country to experiment with live video on the Web, an emerging tool that some say will revolutionize how schools connect with their communities. For schools already accustomed to sharing important information with families on ever-expanding Web sites and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, live Web casting is another leap forward in communicating with the public.
It would be great to announce to those who read this blog that Harlan, Robeson, or even Chicago State would have their graduations broadcast online. I'm sure doing such a production costs money, but I don't think it's entirely a bad idea to show our community's best and brightest.

That reminds me, last weekend I graduated from Morehouse. That commencement was also broadcast live on the internet.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. Was Right to Pay His Wife

Pat Hickey from ...With Both Hands on the recent controversy about the Congressman paying his Alderman wife as a consultant. It's a very interesting take.

IL Channel on the Executive Mansion

A fifteen minute program about raising money for the Governor's Mansion in Springfield, IL with a look at all the repairs that are needed in addition to what has been going on at the mansion.

Go here for a virtual tour of the Executive Mansion, however, be sure you have either Quicktime or Shockwave to do the tour.

A newspaper stand needing paint

Location: E 95th St & S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60619, USA
Via Chris Locke on Flickr taking a shot of this stand on the southeast corner of 95th & King Dr. Right off the campus of Chicago State University.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rep. Connie Howard on raising the state income tax

Via Capitol Fax.

Ald. Fioretti: Reduce or nix Chicago's gas tax

Chicago should either reduce its nickel-a-gallon gas tax or get rid of it altogether to stop the “annual mugging” of motorists forced to endure the nation’s highest gas prices, an alderman suggested Thursday.

Just in time for the Memorial Day kick-off of the summer driving season, Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said it’s time to give struggling families a break, even if it exacerbates the city’s budget crunch.

“In this city, we’ve started to tax everything except for the air that we breathe. Now, we have to lower [taxes] in areas to bring back the business,” Fioretti said.

Noting that most gas stations double as convenience stores, he said, “By lowering taxes, we’re gonna be able to draw more people in. …By people coming into the city and spending more money on other items, it will make up for it.”
Someone is actually making sense for a change!

Via CapFax morning shorts!

Rep. Jackson defends $$$$ for wife

Greg Hinz:
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s office says there's "nothing wrong and nothing new" about a Bloomberg News report that he funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years to his wife, Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th).

 But it ain't exactly flattering and it amounts to another political hit for the suddenly embattled Chicago Democrat.

Bloomberg reports that Mr. Jackson's campaign committee has paid Ms. Jackson $95,000 for "consulting" since she was elected to the time-draining City Council post two years ago and transferred another $227,00 to her campaign committee. The former received a waiver from the Federal Election Commission.

Arguably more damaging is the appearance that the Jacksons tried to disguise what was occurring.
Hinz says that it's been a miserable last few month for Rep. Jackson. I'll have to agree, especially being caught up in the whole Rod Blagojevich Senate seat fiasco. Will things ever look up for him?

Corruption in Illinois costs each family $109 as reform stalls

Daily Herald:
Now that former Governor Rod Blagojevich is out of the way, Illinois politicians are getting back to business as usual, Chicago style.

"I don't believe we'll see any real reform in my lifetime," said Lupe Martinez, a 56-year-old crane operator, as he swept the sidewalk in front of his brick bungalow on Chicago's southwest side. "Every time we think we've elected someone who will do the right thing, they turn out to be liars and thieves."

Four months after legislators removed Blagojevich from office for abuses including an alleged attempt to sell President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat, they are poised to reject limits on how much their leaders dole out to other lawmakers to ensure loyalty. The Illinois Senate is scheduled to vote on ethics measures today.

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago tallied the price of corruption to state taxpayers: at least $500 million a year. Based on prosecution costs and estimates that 5 percent of state contracts go to the politically connected, that equals $109 per family. The total is enough to pay the average salary for 8,214 public school teachers.

Chicago, Cook County chosen as Achieve Communities

Cook County and Chicago have been selected to join other U.S. communities working to prevent chronic diseases through a collaborative approach.

The so-called Achieve Communities get support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent heart disease and other illnesses.
The Cook County Department of Public Health and the Chicago Park District are the agencies selected. They will work with two national organizations on the effort.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RTA allocated $2.7B in state capital

The state's new capital program would provide billions of dollars to keep Chicago-area mass transit running at the status quo, but it isn't likely to fund new services or make wish-list projects come true, officials said today.

Nevertheless, Regional Transportation Authority leaders said they are satisfied legislators were able to provide enough money to keep the CTA, Metra and Pace equipment in good repair, given the state's economic miasma. The capital program approved Thursday now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature.

The $1.8 billion measure, plus $900 million in the recent "mini" capital bill, would bring to $2.7 billion the state allocation for mass transit infrastructure needs.

"It's a respectable amount in terms of getting us back to where we should be, but it's not going to do a lot in terms of exciting, fancy new projects," RTA Chairman Jim Reilly said.

Marathon Pundit on gas prices in Morton Grove

John Ruberry noted this afternoon that at a Marathon Gas station in his suburb gas was only $2.75 and that's about equal to a Chatham neighborhood station as noted by JP Paulus on Tuesday. If anyone else knows of gas prices in the Chicago area please note them here.

While Ruberry notes a WBBM-TV article the fact that Chicago has the nation's highest gas prices was already noted here thru an AP report.

State joblessness hit 25-year high in April

Unemployment in Illinois jumped to a 25-year high in April, according to government figures.

The jobless rate rose to 9.4% last month, up from 9% the prior month and the highest since April 1984, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. That pushed the total number of unemployed workers to 619,500, the largest since August 1983. During the same period a year ago, employers reduced payrolls by 255,400.

The decline was led by an 8,900-job drop in manufacturing. Trade, transportation and utilities companies cut 5,400 workers, and construction companies cut 4,800. The report also showed non-farm payrolls declined by 23,100 last month.

Government and mining were the only two industry areas that added workers. The state added 9,000, while mining companies hired 100.

Hey this block club sign has changed

Location: E 87th St & S Calumet Ave, Chicago, IL 60619, USA

Since I walked by this sign and took a pic in early March right on 87th and Calumet. There isn't even an indication of what block this was here. They must be reading this blog.

BTW, if you are either a member of a block club or familiar with block club activities I would love to hear from you. Post a comment or send an e-mail.

Chicago State University to graduate 1,000 tonight

Just checked my e-mail just now from CSU's Brian Pitzer:
More than 1,000 students will graduate tonight at Chicago State University’s Spring Commencement ceremony at the Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center beginning at 6 p.m.

Two students will make history as the University’s first doctoral graduates from the College of Education. Angelia Roberts-Watkins and Reginald Patterson will receive doctor of education degrees – the first time that degree has been awarded at CSU.

Other notable graduates are Tiffany Brown, who was named outstanding graduating senior and will enroll in College of Pharamacy at CSU in the fall, and Fiona Wan, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, who will graduate summa cum laude and has been accepted into the school of law at Indiana University, Bloomington. Both students have received numerous academic honors during their careers and Ms. Brown is a member of the CSU track team and Ms. Wan is a member of the CSU golf team.

Interim President Dr. Frank G. Pogue will honor five students graduating summa cum laude, 11 students graduating magna cum laude, and 55 students graduating cum laude.

Media coverage of the event is welcome. Chicago State University is located at 95th Street and Martin Luther King Drive.
Congrats to all CSU grads.

I would like to note any other graduations in other ward schools as well. All that's needed is a brief e-mail.

Burris headlines

UPDATE 12:31 PM Kennedy mulling run for US Senate Seat - WLS TV
Senator Burris’s political adviser Delmarie Cobb is not impressed by Chris Kennedy’s possible entry into the race.

“He hasn’t been that involved in terms of any public policy or out front on any issues, so he would have to begin from scratch,” Cobb said.
Burris releases his budget requests - respublica

Reid Is Ripe Target in 2010 Race
- FOX News
The poll of 625 Nevada voters was taken last week, before Reid, once more, found himself twisting around his caucus's position on an issue, this time on whether Guantanamo detainees will ever be allowed into the United States.

And on Tuesday, Reid botched statements on three subjects in one news conference, including the fragile health of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

He also earlier this year bungled the handling of the appointment of Illinois Sen. Roland Burris to Obama's vacant Senate seat, boldly declaring Burris would never be seated before bowing to public pressure to welcome him.

Sneed: Kennedy is in - Capitol Fax

A Kennedy from Illinois? - AMERICAblog

RFK son 'seriously considering' Senate run - CNN Political Ticker

Robert F. Kennedy's son Chris Kennedy to run for Obama's former senate seat in Illinois - NY Daily News

Another Kennedy thinks he might like a U.S. Senate seat, Illinois' - Top of the Ticket

Sold-Out Neighborhood Tours Deliver the Goods

A report from Saturday May 16th on the tour that included the south side neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham and South Chicago.

Neighborhoods brace for summer violence

Austin Weekly News:
In the wake of one of the deadliest school years in Chicago history, anti-violence groups are trying to keep students safe this summer despite funding cuts to already tight budgets.

With less than three weeks before Chicago Public Schools let out for the summer, the student death toll is perched precariously at 36-the highest in years-causing community organizations to fear the worst for this summer.

Though anti-violence organizations are facing a funding crunch, one federal program will provide grant money to Chicago neighborhoods with youth gang problems. The Justice Department's Federal Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative will give as much as $105,000 to support programs designed to curtail gang involvement on Chicago's south and west sides.
Read the whole thing!

Look at this nice building

Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
You can find this picture on Flickr via Curtis Locke. He's taken many wonderful photos of Chatham. Here's a basic description that he's provided:
8050 S. King (built in 1927)

*Sold for 105K in 1990.
A very good developer with some capital can really develop this into something special I'm sure of it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

6th Ward Monthly Meetings

From the Aldermanic Newsletter!

Saturday, June, 13th, 10:00 a.m.
St. Columbanus Church
331 E. 71st Street

Thursday, July 9th, 6:30 p.m.
Northern Trust Bank
7801 S. State St.


Saturday, September 12th, 10:00 a.m.
Crerar Memorial Presbyterian Church
8100 S. Calumet Ave.

Congressman Jackson Can Keep Our Lake Healthy

The "Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives" campaign wants you to call 2nd District Congressman Jesse Jackson, who has decent seniority on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and ask him to support President Obama's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The campaign provides "5 Reasons Why Congressman Jackson should support" the initiative. I don't doubt that our readers will have several reasons why they think he shouldn't; and I think the number one reason will rhyme with "bexploding neficits".
Read the rest!

Daley: If gambling is bad, why is it all over Mississippi and Illinois?

Clout St:
While opponents of a plan to legalize video gambling at bars and restaurants throughout Illinois warn of the social ills, Mayor Richard Daley today suggested a reality check.

"Everybody thinks gambling is bad, let's be realistic. Everybody does. But why is it in Mississippi? Why is it all over? It's even in Illinois. If it's that bad, then why have we allowed it to happen?" asked Daley, who has long wanted a land-based casino for Chicago.

Opponents of the proposal, which is being floated as a way to pay for a statewide construction program, have said it would result in a massive gambling expansion that will add to the state's social problems. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart called the prospect "horrible."

When directly asked if he agrees with legalization, Daley did not take a position.

"They don't ask me for my permission to do anything in Springfield," he said.
Gaming is a convenient answer. It's easier to say that the state might as well profit from those people who are willing to gamble, but should anything provided by government be funded by those who choose to gamble?

School options lacking for children on south, west sides

Researchers at IFF, formerly known as the Illinois Facilities Fund, found "both measurable improvement and areas of continued substantial need" in Chicago Public Schools. They based their conclusions on a comparison of the district in 2008 versus 2004, when the nonprofit issued its first "Here and Now" report.

"Once you look past those improvements, there are still huge concentrations of need in the city," says Jose Cerda III, director of public policy and communications at IFF. "We still have a way to go."
he study, released last week, focused on "performing capacity," or the supply of classroom seats at adequately performing schools. Researchers looked at the availability of those seats in each of Chicago's 77 community areas.

They found that reform efforts added more than 46,500 adequately performing elementary-school seats in the district. New charter, contract and performance schools gave nearly 14,000 students the option to attend a performing elementary school in many of Chicago's high-need community areas.

But even with increased performing capacity, almost 100,000 elementary-school children still need access to a better-performing elementary school. The study also found that none of Chicago's 63 area high schools met the 2008 Illinois standard of performance, so nearly 57,000 students attending those schools do not have access to a perfoming public school.

Most of the city's elementary schools feed students to high schools where less than 30 percent of the students test at the 2008 Illinois state standard.
The study also shows pockets of the city where students have markedly fewer options than their counterparts elsewhere in the district. The top 25 areas in need of performing capacity were primarily in Chicago's south and west sides, and of those communities, 17 were considered high-need in 2004 as well.

In all, the 25 neediest areas lack nearly 79,400 well-performing seats.

"Our primary recommendation with all this is to, really, take the tools that we have, especially Renaissance 2010, and make them more place-based," Cerda says.

Chicago to lose last 24-hour post office

Beginning June 6, the downtown Chicago location at 433 W. Harrison St. will be open only from 7:30 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, said Mark Reynolds, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman.

But if you want to mail packages at 2 or 3 a.m., you'll still be able to use an automated, self-service center at the Harrison Street location.

Chicago had been the last city in the United States with a 24-hour window staffed by postal workers. New York City closed its last round-the-clock post office earlier this month.

CSU audit 'shocking,' expert says

Chicago State University’s accounting department appears to have been poorly supervised, under-staffed and less than competent, outside experts who looked at the school’s most recent audit are saying.

The audit, released by the state Auditor General last week, pointed out 20 problem areas in everything from handling student financial aid to doling out contracts and how the school uses its credit cards and purchasing cards.

“It’s sloppy accounting from that standpoint,” says Ray Whittington, the dean of DePaul University’s business school and an expert in auditing. “It points to the lack of controls in the organization.”

Eric Sussman, a lecturer at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the audit – and the fact that many of the problems have been recurring for a year or more – point to incompetence, negligence or “extraordinary laziness” at the school.

“They’re not reconciling accounts. That’s kind of Accounting 101 type of issues,” Sussman says. He adds that it seems an “unbelievable irony, that a university can’t pass Accounting 101 is a little shocking.”

The most recent audit covers the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2008. That was the end of Elnora Daniel’s term as president. She came under fire starting in 2007 for misusing the school’s credit cards.

CTA complaints are down, agency says

Jon Hilkevitch:
CTA bus drivers who don't stop to pick up riders are responsible for causing the  most common complaint to the transit agency, although the number of gripes in almost all the major categories has fallen since last year, according to new data based on customer phone calls and e-mails.

In the first three months of this year, riders have contacted the CTA to complain about 468 "pass-up" incidents in which bus drivers failed to stop at bus stops or wait for people flagging down a passing bus, according to a summary compiled by the transit agency to track complaints, kudos and trends. A total of 606 pass-up complaints were received in the third quarter of 2008, and there were 602 such complaints in the fourth quarter of that year.

Rude bus and train operators ranked as the second-biggest irritant to riders so far this year. Complaints about rude operators totaled 458 in the first quarter, down from more than 500 in each of the two previous three-month periods, the records show.

The replacement of aging buses with a modern fleet as well as track work to reduce rail slow zones may account for a decrease in complaints about service delays, officials said.  The reduction in complaints overall his year is occurring amid a ridership increase of 2.5 percent through April, compared with the same four-month period in 2008.

If the complaint statistics continue to drop, the customer feedback suggests that the CTA's frontline employees are behaving more politely, operating buses and trains in a safer manner and are more helpful in giving directions and answering questions about fares.
Read the comments over at the Breaking News blog, they are very interesting. They certainly indicate a cynicism.

Does anyone take issue with any aspect of CTA service?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May gas update.

It's been a while, but jumping off of this recent post here, here's a price update, from Tuesday evening, compared to the border between Lake & Cook counties & here in Chatham
  • Deerfield = $2.55
  • Shell at 79th & King = $2.75
  • BP at 76th & State (our previous SOuth Side bargain) = $2.67 (so more expensive, but cheaper than others)
  • Mobil at 76th & State= $2.69, but only $2.49 with Car Wash

RTA head says federal transit funds not enough

Regional Transportation Authority Director Steve Schlickman tells the Associated Press that both federal and state governments will have to come up with billions more to prevent crumbling systems from falling into further disrepair.

Chicago-area mass transit systems are receiving about $400 million in federal stimulus money. And nearly $1 billion has already been set aside by Illinois lawmakers this year. Schlickman hopes legislators will approve several more billion soon.

But combined, all that would still fall short of the $10 billion Schlickman says will be needed over the next five years.

Zell: Housing market will stabilize this summer

The U.S. housing market that has badly deteriorated in the past three years will stabilize this summer and the United States will be the first economy to rebound, real estate mogul Sam Zell said Monday.

"Housing market stability will appear sometime this summer," Zell said, speaking before more than 2,000 people attending a luncheon at the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual convention in Las Vegas. "I can't tell you if it's June 29 or Aug. 1."

The dearth of new supply should help the housing market find a bottom, Zell said. U.S. homebuilders have been forced to severely scale back on new homes, to an estimated 350,000 this year at current construction rates from 1.7 million in 2006.

Cook County sales tax hike stands

Cook County’s penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hike, passed last year, will stand.

This morning the 17-member Cook County Board of Commissioners took a complicated vote that, ultimately, allowed Board President Todd Stroger to block legislation that would have repealed the 1 percentage point hike OKd last year.
To override the veto, a difficult four-fifths majority or 14 of the 17 commissioners would have to vote for it. This afternoon, only 11 commissioners voted to override, while 4 voted against the override, and commissioners Robert Steele and Earlean Collins voted “present.”

While those pushing for the full repeal have said the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hurts both consumers and businesses, Stroger has said eliminating the entire hike would effectively shutter Provident Hospital and health care clinics that serve the poor and uninsured.

The timing couldn't be worse, he has said, considering the economic downturn has resulted in thousands of layoffs, and as a result, a spike in the number of uninsured seeking care at county-run hospitals.

May newsletter aldermanic message

A play by play of responses to the crimes that were experienced in the ward during the month of April contained within the Aldermanic message.
In April, our Ward seemed like a shooting gallery. During a 5 day period, there were 12 shootings and 3 murders. What has happened in response?

-We now have a dedicated beat car patrolling 79th St. from State St. east to the Viaduct.

-Supt. Weis and other Brass came to 79th & King for a Walk and Talk on May 1st.

-There was a great 6th District CAPS Block Club Convention where most of the speakers gave solutions to violence.

-We asked for the license of the car wash where 8 shootings occurred to be revoked.

-On May 4th, Supt. Weis and other Brass appeared at the Park Manor Neighbors Meeting.

-On May 5th, Aldermen Austin, Dowell, Pope and I met with the Supt. and his command staff about their plans for the summer.

-South Central Community Center will soon be operating a youth program on 79th St.

-New Police cameras have been installed in the immediate area of 79th & King Drive.

-I have a commitment for additional programming at Tuley Park (a tennis program) and a return to the days of open gym at Tuley.

-I’ve talked to the Supervisor at Meyering Park and am determined to have some community event there this summer.

-I met with Ron Huberman and got a commitment for the equipment, staff and improvements needed at Harlan Community Academy for the new Engineering Program that starts in September 2009.

-In a never ending attempt to get our schools open to the community, Mr. Huberman committed to putting a program in Ruggles Elementary School this summer.

-There was a 1000 Man March in the 3rd District Police last Saturday (May 9th) and many of the men there agreed to mentor our young boys.

Will this end the violence? No it won’t. It will take years before we return to a community with children that respect adults, value education, are raised by their parents to eschew violence. In the short term, however, we have to do whatever we can to remain safe.

Remember for a moment that most of you have lived here for 40/50 years. How long did it take for the problems to escalate to this point? It can’t take that long for us to solve the problems, otherwise there will be no community left to value the change. We can’t right the wrongs done by public policy decisions that decimated our communities. We must however continue working to change those things that we can. Let’s start with the broken windows.

Grocery store, park wanted at site of former Kennedy-King College

Block Renewal, an advocacy community group, said the former campus at 6800 S. Wentworth Ave. should be converted into a full-service grocery store since there are currently none in Englewood. There is an Aldi grocery store across the street from the new $250 million campus at 63rd and Halsted Street.

“We need a Jewel or Dominick’s to come here. A store that sells fresh meat and a variety of other food items,” said Melinda Sheldon, executive director of Block Renewal. “In Englewood all we have are corner grocery stores and Aldi. Neither one offer fresh fish or a deli.”
Alternatively, Sheldon said the community would like to see a park built.

“On the far South Side in the Roseland community is Palmer Park. That park has a swimming pool, water park, basketball courts, tennis courts, children play lot, bike path, and a field house for after school and summer activities,” she said. “That’s the type of park needed in Englewood.”
Noted in the article that no decision has been made by the City Colleges on what the property will be used for at least when it is torn down.

These comments were made at a press conference.

Anyone else have any ideas for what could be placed here. I like the idea of a park and a grocery store but I want other things than that there.

On Race, Shame, and Action in Illinois

The run down on race and recession in the state of Illinois over at From Poverty to Opportunity.

Driver sought in South Side hit-run

The incident occurred at 1:15 p.m. Sunday near 6900 S. Union Ave., police said.

A dark green sedan, believed to be a 1997 or 1998 Hyundai Sonata, was westbound on 69th Street when it struck a male teen who was crossing 69th near Union, according to police.

The driver reportedly paused the car near 69th and Emerald Avenue before continuing from the scene, police said.

The vehicle, which had an Illinois Temporary License Plate, is missing the front grill and might have windshield damage, police said.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run incident should call the police Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521.
The Breaking News post has a picture of a Hyundai Sonata, but I hope that we can find out who did this hit and run.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weatherization Discussed at CBA Meeting

Hermine L. Wise director of procurement of CEDAmentioned the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and discussed five CEDAprograms including: weatherization, low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP), Head Start, Woman Infants and Children (WIC) Program and Workforce and Economic Development (WED).

CEDA has offered Weatherization Services to low-income residents of Cook County for 30 years. The stimulus dollars allowed the organization to add 15 to 25 contractors, provide financial assistance to contractors for specialized equipment, and provide training to contractors interested in specializing in weatherization. New weatherization contracts will begin July 1, 2009.

Wise said CEDA has given to minority businesses. She said they would be building a southeast location in Robbins, IL. Weatherization is expected to increase from 3,500 to 12,000 homes, she said.

John Hamilton director of weatherization at CEDA talked about tripling the number of weatherized homes. President Barack Obama was one of the first presidents to talk about the importance of weatherizing homes, Hamilton said.

To qualify for CEDA’s weatherization services an individual or household must be at 150 percent poverty level with an income below $25,000 a year. Ira Williams director of WED said that people should dress properly for employment. DHS food stamp recipients were sent for employment programs with CEDA.

Tidbits from Stony Island

I know outside of our scope here, but then it happens often on this blog.

I went to Soul Queen today and found that they were open. The restaurant has largely been closed since last summer and was closed thru the Christmas holidays. If anyone knows when they re-opened and under what circumstances that would be appreciated. Last summer they were closed due to city inspections.

Also just up the street and on the west side of Stony Island is the Wyatt Community Center. This center was started by the founders of the Vernon Park Church of God. Well this place is of note because there is a sign on the fence where it is for sale. I don't believe it myself although to be honest I've never utilized this center.

Well once upon a time, earlier in this decade, I attended a training session there for election judges. Probably one of many sites around the city where this was done during that period and it was during the lead-up to a gubernatorial election and that was my only stint as an election judge.

Anyway I just thought the items about Soul Queen and the probable sale of the Wyatt Community Center should be of note this evening.


From the May aldermanic newsletter:
“In communities where both people and buildings appear disorderly, the visual message that the community is out of control may attract more serious crime. This may happen by a spiral of increasing fear of crime among conventional people, who use the area less and thus provide less informal control. Communities that deteriorate in this respect over time are observed to suffer increased rates of violence.”

Lawrence W. Sherman
I really like this one and there's a lot of truth in that.

Chicago has highest-priced gas in US

Chicago has the highest price for gasoline in the U.S., at $2.63 a gallon, according to the national Lundberg Survey of fuel prices.

The price of gasoline in the U.S. jumped 25 cents a gallon during the past three weeks, but remains well below prices from a year ago, according to the survey, released Sunday.
Phoeniz, AZ has the cheapest gas in the nation at $1.99.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Man critically injured in Chatham shooting

The victim, who is in his 30s, was in the 600 block of East 87th Street about 11:55 p.m. when struck by gunfire, police said.

The man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition, reportedly with multiple wounds, police said.
On a major thoroughfare no less, however, it was late at night. Still unfortunate and not something I would like to have happen on any major street at any point during the day or night. According to this report no one is in custody.

North Lawndale churches: Are they causing more harm than good?

Along the busiest corridors of Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, a battle is quietly raging between the sacred and the sinful, God's storefront churches and the streets.

In this community, which is believed to have the city's highest concentration of storefront churches, scenes of drug addiction, prostitution and despair unfold, often right outside the church door. During weeknight Bible study sessions, drug dealers loiter and prostitutes pace. On Sunday mornings, noisy alcoholics sometimes burst into services, which has led some churches to lock their doors.

With the nation in the grips of a dire economic recession, storefront churches in neglected African-American neighborhoods like North Lawndale are increasingly being called on to strengthen their traditional role as lifelines for the community.

But some local business leaders question whether the area's nearly 200 churches, mainly storefronts, are causing more economic harm than spiritual good. Some debate whether having so many non-profit, tax-exempt entities on commercial properties is hurting the tax base and standing in the way of job creation.

There is also concern among leaders, including some pastors, that churches are not doing enough to help heal the poverty that sometimes drives people to crime.

Others, however, say churches in struggling neighborhoods should not be alone in shouldering the responsibility. They argue that churches can serve as vital sanctuaries in hard times and that more involvement by churches -- not less -- is needed.
I've pondered this. It seems the poorer the neighborhood, the more churches it seems to contain. I wonder if the proliferation of churches might hurt an area especially if these churches are located somewhere that could contain successful business ready, willing and able to hire people in addition to providing to in increased tax base (well gotta think of these things like it or not). Hopefully they might provide a catalyst for attracting other businesses to an area and hopefully diverse businesses. Another way to look at this issue is perhaps to say there are those who'd rather a church than another vacant building or vacant lot.

You know I was thinking about RL Dukes Oldsmobile. I'm barely old enough to remember that dealership, however, I remember the main dealership that now has Northern Trust Bank as it's home. Across the street from that place (is it 78th or 79th place) used to be a showroom for used cars. I only know that because my family used to buy cars from there. Anyway what's taking up space now is a church.

I'm not knocking churches  at all as for many of us they serve their roles or their niches as I'm sure a lot of these "storefront" churches serves. However we should ask a question. Should we have functioning businesses in places that were created for functioning businesses?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

IL GOP Gubernatorial candidate proposes to block big box ordinances

Marathon Pundit discusses a bill by State Sen. Bill Brady that would prevent the state's municipalities from enacting "big-box" ordinances. Brady is running for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2010.

Neighborhood schools need the most help

A new list is out and it should be required reading for anyone who cares about the Chicago Public Schools.

It tells us where the real problems are.

The need for quality neighborhood elementary schools, it turns out, is concentrated in just 25 of Chicago's 77 community areas clustered on the South and West Sides, according to a study by IFF, a local community development financial institution and research organization.

Drilling deeper, IFF unearthed the eight community areas in the worst shape of all.

These neighborhoods don't have any high-quality, "performing" neighborhood schools. That means that nearly 23,000 kids in these neighborhoods have no chance of finding a spot in a quality neighborhood elementary school. The neighborhoods are Avalon Park, Douglas, Fuller Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Pullman, South Chicago, South Shore and Washington Park.
Greater Grand Crossing! That community is in our ward. What can we do to give them more help?

Here's more:
Greater Grand Crossing, for example, has eight neighborhood schools. None are performing. Adding a few quality Renaissance 2010 schools could help, and CPS is targeting these eight needy areas, but new schools can't do it all.
Read the whole thing!

The Depth of Corrutpion in Illinois

Newsalert links to a report by UIC Professor Dick Simpson on the history of corruption in the state

Burris headlines

Sen. Roland Burris in Waukegan today - News Sun

Senate seat not just about Burris - Daily Herald

2010: Updates in the IL Senate race - First Read

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Talk About Possibly Running for U.S Senate! - The Young Turks

City reform, Hartmarx, Madigan’s future and the GOP - Chicago Daily Observer

Friday, May 15, 2009

Affordable housing units used by many to turn a quick profit

This story from the Sun-Times regarding affordable housing in the Maxwell Street area asks a couple of questions.

1) What is considered affordable housing?

2) How many homes are considered affordable?

The Urbanophile: The Rise of the New Grass Roots - Part 2

A second part discussing the "applications" for the new grass roots.

Raising taxes on just about everything in Illinois

Respublica looks at all the proposed tax increases in Illinois.

It still happens

Students pulling fire alarms at Harlan, although this probably happens at other schools as well. It certainly happened in my day. Pulling a fire alarm is considered a "public peace violation".
Via Everyblock's 6th Ward feed. Check it out in the sidebar!

Our schools as community centers

Back to the comments by Alderman Lyle:
on Apr. 7th, I met with Ron Huberman about the necessity for opening up our schools as community centers after school hours and on Saturdays. He agreed that we will start moving in that direction. On Tues. Apr. 14th, I was working on approval for a new after-school and summer program for community youth across from Ruggles Elementary. South Central Community Center will start this program in the next month. On Thurs. April 16, 2009 I asked Police Command staff for a dedicated car to be assigned to 79th Street from State to the railroad tracks, at a City Council committee meeting. On Fri. the Library shooting occurred. On Sat. a dedicated beat car was assigned to patrol 79th St. The following week, I was meeting with the Park District about free open gym at Tuley Park and a Tennis program for our community on the courts at Tuley and Ruggles. Today, I was informed we have hired a Tennis instructor. Last week, I was in discussion with Kubla Toure (Amer-i-can) and Minister Muhammad (Nation of Islam) about violence prevention and suppression programming efforts in our community. Understanding that the causes of violence are numerous, it will take long term action on various fronts to attack the roots. In future posts I’ll discuss in detail some of the actions we are going to be taking in the 6th Ward to stop the violence and ‘reweave the social fabric’ that strong communities must have to raise healthy, educated, well-adjusted children.
Actually I think I can go with this idea of turning our schools into community centers. Perhaps schools shouldn't be out, but also available for additional programming for our young people or even our elderly. Perhaps during the school year or summer recess community organizations can hold meetings on school grounds as well. Something to consider.

Burris headlines

Burris: Obama should name ‘woman of color’ to Court - St. Louis Post Dispatch

Schakowsky: Burris Isn't Competitive In Dem Primary - Progress Illinois

Schakowsky collects evidence in favor of future Senate run - Daily Northwestern

Chris Kennedy, mulling Illinois Senate bid may need name ID boost - Lynn Sweet

Lisa Madigan opening door to Senate bid; more focused on governor race - Lynn Sweet

Mountains of Muck Will Erupt in 2010 Senate Race
- Chicago Daily Observer

I had already posted a video version on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New exhibit at Pullman State historic site

More info at Ridge 99. Something to do if you're looking for events on the south side.

Daley pushes Springfield agenda lacking ethics reform

Flanked by a cast of thousands, Mayor Daley turned up the heat today on the Illinois General Assembly to approve his Springfield agenda with one conspicuous omission: ethics reform.

With one governor in prison and another impeached and indicted, reforming a state government mired in corruption and pay-to-pay politics is high on just about everybody's agenda.

Not Daley's. Not even after the Hired Truck, city hiring and minority contracting scandals resulted in dozens of convictions, including the March guilty verdict against former Streets and Sanitation commissioner and Hispanic Democratic Organization chieftain Al Sanchez for rigging city hiring and promotions.

Why not champion the issue?

"We've done everything here. We're leading the way with our inspector general, office of compliance — all the things we've done. We're more transparent than any other government. Look at it. We're doing a tremendous job here. We lead by example," he said.

CSU expects reprimand over $1.6M health insurance contract

Chicago State University has miscounted tens of millions of dollars, improperly handled dozens of contracts, overspent on several federal grants and fell as much as six months behind on routine accounting tasks that should have happened monthly, a new state audit says.

The report, issued by the Illinois Auditor General, is highly critical of many aspects of CSU’s finances during the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2008. It identifies 20 problem areas. The auditor general found problems in 12 of those areas a year or more ago, but many of the same issues remain.

Leon Finney, the chairman of CSU’s Board of Trsutees, says while he hasn’t seen the audit report, he expected it to point out many of the same problems as past audits.

He placed the blame squarely on former university president Elnora Daniel. She left in June 2008 when the board refused to renew her contract.
And that's not the only problem. Another report from the Chi-Town:
Chicago State University officials expect they’ll get another slap on the wrist from state auditors for failing to re-bid a $1.6 million contract for student health insurance – a series of events that board members are blaming on former president Elnora Daniel.

The contract should have been put up for competitive bidding from other health insurance providers a year ago, officials said, but instead it was quietly renewed for the current academic year. Despite that, the board voted 4-1 yesterday to extend the same contract through the next school year, until August 2010, after some discussion of the issue.

“I would hate to have another audit exception because the board failed to ask a question such as this for a $1.6 million contract that has been extended and whether we are legally within the bounds of what we can do,” Board Chairman Leon Finney said.

Handcuffed At Julian

The District 299 blog posts a letter from an aunt of a Julian High School student regarding an incident that placed her neice on suspension long enough to possible miss her graduation.
According to Brittni she was en route to the restroom to blow her nose. She was approached by a staff person who asked for her identification. Brittney stated that she did not have ID and proceeded to the restroom. The staff person then called police officers to the restroom. At this point 3 women police officers cornered Brittni in the restroom stall, handcuffed her, and drug her down the hall by her handcuffs. Brittni who has never been involved with law enforcement went into shock and begin screaming because she felt as though she was being attacked by the officers. Moreover, Brittni is a senior and is scheduled to graduate June 5th. She has received a 10 day suspension which will prevent for meeting graduation requirements.
I am appalled at the conflict management procedures of your building. It is unfortunate that students are subjected to being treated like criminals in an environment where they are supposed to feel safe and is conducive to learning. I believe that the officers escalated the incident by using unnecessary force rather more civil communication means.
Read the whole thing. I would expect that this should be a problem at any of our neighborhood schools as well.

Is Chatham turning into Detroit?

This was the second comment in the post at CAPCC blog regarding Weis' Chatham visit from earlier this month:
Chatham is now worst that Detroit.
Do those of you in Chatham really believe this brief comment? If you believe this is true then let's discuss how this may be true?

If you were to ask me I don't think Chatham is there yet, then again I see Detroit as a virtually dead city. I don't want to fall into that at least Chicago isn't Detroit nonsense while at the same time I don't want to fall in the trap of thinking of Chatham as being "worse than Detroit". Of course I'm saying that as a non-resident of Chatham although mindful of the basic neighborhood reputation and history.

Anyway I would like to hear other points of view so let's have it!